It's becoming a tradition...
Winter brings tremendous inspiration and writing time. By late Spring I start noticing how empty the GastroBoy draft folder has become. Little by little I whittle down my stash of inspired content until finally Summer hits and I find myself in the same place.... Sitting in and airport wondering if I should put GastroBoy into hibernation. Today's contemplation vista happens to be DTW-B12, awaiting a flight to IAH (Houston).
Here's the thing about writing...It requires a stationary posture. If you know GastroBoy very well you know that sitting still in no easy task. I have a wicked case of ADD and an inability to say no. At work I have a staff of extremely fertile and upwardly mobile professionals adding the constant challenge of juggling maternity leaves and open positions. Bring into the mix parenting obligations and cohabitation with an equally active She-Lion and you quickly appreciate that free time is a scarce commodity. Visiting multiple restaurants to research culinary mediation takes time away from family, work and friends...I am constantly prioritizing.
Still, I enjoy maintaining GastroBoy. My tribe has grown and we've built momentum. And while I've never made a formal commitment about posting frequency I start to itch when the most recent work becomes 10 days old. Enacting a summer hibernation feels like quitting.
It Takes a Village
Perhaps your familiar with this quote, "If you're here AND I'm here, doesn't that make it OUR time?" I genuinely believe that this is "our site." So let's agree that nether of us want a summer hibernation. Let's also agree that some GastroBoy readers are freeloading mother fuckers. You laugh and cry and repost my material but you never comment. You never write, you never call. Stop that. If you want to see GastroBoy continue to post through the foreseeable future you need to act. Rather than taking a summer vacation from the site I propose we work together to expedite content. Here's a few options...
I. ASK GASTROBOY
A few years ago a good friend gave me a subscription to Rolling Stone. While most of it is a painful reminder that I am hopelessly out of the musical loop, a few sections bring tremendous bi-weekly pleasure. Case-in-point: Ask Dr. Ozzy. It's a regular column where Ozzy Osbourne (or more likely, a staffer pretending to be Ozzy) answers reader questions on social protocol, often sexual. The responses are only slightly more ridiculous than the questions. It's a highlight in my Rollingtone reading ritual.
Last month when my sister was presented with a unique dining dilemma she suggested I offer reader advise by way of an "Ask GastroBoy" column. Here's your chance people. Have you been ridiculed for public flossing? Do you stress over when it's appropriate to ask for salt? Maybe you have an acorn shaped mole on your "who-ha" and don't know what to do. Ask GastroBoy at email@example.com and, assuming your question sparks my interest, I'll publish my response.
II. GUEST WRITERS
Have you read the Food and Wine Hedonist? How about (albeit not local) Laughing Squid? What do these sites have in common? Multiple writers. I once heard a reputable "social marketer" announce that in order to maintain traffic a blog must publish 3 times per week. Clearly I am slacking. So, in the spirit of partnership I am hereby offering you the reader a chance to be published, or rendered as the case may be. Perhaps you've been thinking about starting your own site and need a test-drive. Or maybe you have no aspirations to write more than once, but you have a Moth-worthy story to share. Now is your chance. E-Mail me you submission and I promise the chance to be posted. Please note, to be published your piece must include at least one of the following...Intelligence, snark, humor or "Quwan."
III. REQUEST LINES ARE OPEN
Here's another issue delaying posts...inspiration. I refuse to inflate page views by writing fluff pieces. You know what I mean. Plenty of sites make a living out of the obligatory posts. All you need is a Halmark Calendar to draft an entire year of seasonal posts. Fuck that. I prefer creative non-fiction with autobiographical human affect. I want to write about things that genuinely peek curiosity. Perhaps you've got a topic that would spark inspiration. Maybe you're baffled by the incessant need for every "GastroPub" to offer Mac-N-Cheese. Maybe the term "Craft Comfort" makes you too vomit. Maybe you'd like to know how Kobyashi gets sixty hot dogs down in 5 minutes. Pitch the idea and maybe I'll take the bait.
Need some Inspiration?
OK - I know this presents a large shift. You're used to GastroBoy serving as your lone Sherpa in this creative journey. While asking you to engage may be thrilling it may also provide some blank stares. Because I’m a stand-up guy I’m going to suggest some creative fodor for your gastronomical pleasure in the form of summer homework.
1) Summer Reading: Here’s what’s on my nightstand at this very moment. Perhaps there's something that you may enjoy...
An Economist Get's Lunch, Tyler Cowen
“Food snobbery is killing entrepreneurship and innovation, says economist, preeminent social commentator, and maverick dining guide blogger Tyler Cowen. Americans are becoming angry that our agricultural practices have led to global warming-but while food snobs are right that local food tastes better, they're wrong that it is better for the environment, and they are wrong that cheap food is bad food. The food world needs to know that you don't have to spend more to eat healthy, green, exciting meals. At last, some good news from an economist!
Tyler Cowen discusses everything from slow food to fast food, from agriculture to gourmet culture, from modernist cuisine to how to pick the best street vendor. He shows why airplane food is bad but airport food is good; why restaurants full of happy, attractive people serve mediocre meals; and why American food has improved as Americans drink more wine. And most important of all, he shows how to get good, cheap eats just about anywhere.
Just as The Great Stagnation was Cowen's response to all the fashionable thinking about the economic crisis, An Economist Gets Lunch is his response to all the fashionable thinking about food. Provocative, incisive, and as enjoyable as a juicy, grass-fed burger, it will influence what you'll choose to eat today and how we're going to feed the world tomorrow.”
The Big Green Egg Cook Book, Big Green Egg
“The cookbook EGGheads have been waiting for that features over 160 recipes designed specifically for the ceramic cooker, the Big Green Egg. It can sear, smoke, roast, and bake.
The Big Green Egg Cookbook is the first cookbook specifically celebrating this versatile ceramic cooker. Available in five sizes, Big Green Egg ceramic cookers can sear, grill, smoke, roast, and bake. Here is the cookbook EGGheads have been waiting for, offering a variety of recipes encompassing the cooker's capabilities as a grill, a smoker, and an oven.
The book's introduction explains the ancient history of ceramic cookers and the loyal devotion of self-proclaimed EGGheads to these dynamic, original American-designed cookers. Complete with more than 160 recipes and 100 color photographs, the Big Green Egg Cookbook is a must for the more than 1 million EGG owners in the United States and a great introduction for anyone wanting to crack the shell of EGGhead culture.”
Everything is Perfect when You're a Liar, Kelly Oxford
“Well, she's bitingly funny, but everybody knows that. -Roger Ebert on Kelly Oxford. The beautiful - and hilarious - Kelly Oxford has been one of the most hysterical voices on the Internet since it was still a series of tubes. In 1997, she began sharing stories of her life as a young wife and mother on a Geocities page, then on an anonymous blog, then on a MySpace account; eventually she found her metier in the widely followed Tumblr blog "Eject" and in her raucous, often filthy, always hilarious Twitter feed, which has garnered more than 300,000 followers (adding 1,500 more each week), with frequent retweets from heavy-hitting fans such as Roger Ebert, Jessica Alba, Tony Hawk, Diablo Cody, Kevin Nealon, Susan Orlean, Ann Curry, Adam McKay, Mindy Kaling, and Jonathan Ames. There is no mistaking Kelly's voice: Something people in McDonalds have? Fries. Something people in McDonalds don't have? Ankles. Chicken fried steak is the true American story: A place where even a chicken can be a steak. When my dog smells someone's crotch I say, 'Sorry, she's one of those cancer-smelling dogs.' Had my son's hearing tested because he's always yelling. Turns out he's just an asshole. 'She's a total psycho.' 'Completely.' 'But I mean, I still like her.' 'Me too, she's sweet.' -two girls beside me, and everywhere, right now. Straight-talking and riotously funny, Kelly Oxford has garnered an incredible following through her trademark blend of biting wit, self-deprecation, and a knack for seeing the hilarity in the everyday. Now, Kelly has written a side-splitting book of essays that shine her blindingly sardonic light on life as she sees it. From childhood to motherhood, from the zany to the tearjerking, Kelly covers it all: from My Soldier Face: Or how I awkwardly broke into modeling by ignoring adults who thought I was weird; I Peed my Pants and Threw up on a Chinese Man: Tales of a gas station accident and getting drunk for the first time, in ten minutes flat; To Aid and Abet: Interning in a video store and how to handle a man in a wheelchair jerking off in the porno section; Finding Leo: Or how to stalk pre-Titanic Leonardo DiCaprio in L.A. on less than $200, but still end up driving a Mercedes; and An Open Letter to the Nurse Who Gave Me an Enema Bottle and Told Me to Do It Myself While I Was High on Morphine. Is Kelly the next David Sedaris? The next Chelsea Handler? The next Sloane Crosley? No - they were the last Kelly Oxford.”
2) Leisure Activities
Live Music: Few things get me as excited as live music. I hereby order you to visit the Ark; Go to Sonic Lunch; Hang out at the Summer Festival. Live. Laugh. Tip your wait staff. Amen.
Spit Seeds: Two years ago I bought a Cherry-Pitter. It’s amazing. Having said that, I still prefer sitting on the porch with fresh some fruit trying to see how many cement squares I can cover with one well-paced spit. Give it a try.
Make Something With your Hands: I’m not too proud to admit that I own a glue gun. I used it to attach Oberon caps to my juice-bottle bird feeder. What can you up-cycle? Life is too short to endure ugly. Make some art.
Take a Nap Out Doors: As much as I suffer from ADD, there is nothing more delicious than laying in the hammock, listening to waves break on the shore and letting the sun warm my face. It’s beyond therapeutic. It feeds your soul.
Finally, perhaps you're new to A2GastroBoy. Perhaps you're wondering why anyone would give a shit? You're not alone. Here's a few posts from yours truly that garnered interest, IE these are the most popular posts from A2GastroBoy.
So that’s it. Now it’s up to you. Game ON. Get to work.